Somewhere along the line, presumably, your parents probably taught you that tone matters. How you say something is as important as what you say, which brings us to Xander Bogaerts and his future with the Red Sox.
And so, if you’ve read Bogaerts’ comments from his final preseason media session yesterday as the Red Sox embark on the 2022 season, you probably have some understanding as to where Bogaerts and the Red Sox stand with regard to his contract. But if you hear Bogaerts’ comments … well … it’s hard to feel good about where this is all going.
It doesn’t sound good, folks. It doesn’t sound good at all.
Before we begin, a quick recap: Bogaerts is now 29 and in the third year of a six-year, $120 million contract, but he is underpaid at his position and will almost certainly opt out of his contract at the end of the season. He signed with the Red Sox as a 16-year-old, which means he has spent almost half his life in the organization. Most important, he has been the consummate professional and performer, one of the very best players at his position in baseball since Alex Cora became manager of the team in 2018.
During spring training, the Red Sox signed Trevor Story – a shortstop – to play second base this year, giving them leverage in talks with Bogaerts. Even with Story here, the Sox will free up more than $100 million in payroll after this season, giving them ample room to keep Bogaerts and, for that matter, third baseman Rafael Devers, who is a free agent following the 2023. But to date, the Sox have not negotiated a new long-term agreement with either player, leading to the following exchanges yesterday between Bogaerts and members of the media.
Of course, anything can happen between now and November, when Bogaerts hits the open market. But listening to the player yesterday, it’s hard to believe that the Red Sox cornerstone is in even a remotely good place regarding his relationship with the only franchise he has known entering what could very well be his last season in Boston.